New regulations proposed by the National Institutes of Health in May to restrict conflicts of interest in biomedical research sponsored by the agency would significantly increase universities' administrative burden and their costs of complying with federal research rules, four higher education groups argued in jointly submitted comments Tuesday. In their formal response to the proposed regulations, the groups -- the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of American Universities, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities -- recommended that the NIH alter several provisions that they argued would require excessive, unnecessary reporting. They also argued that to help institutions meet the costs of the rules, which will require them to "add personnel and expand their infrastructure to meet [their] unfunded federal mandates," the government should provide direct "implementation" grants and increase the rates at which institutions are reimbursed for the indirect costs of research awards.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The Obama administration is planning to ease travel restrictions to Cuba -- and specifically to make it easier for academic and research programs to take place, The New York Times reported. Many American education groups have argued for years that the limits are so severe that they inhibit programs that could benefit both countries.
Like many states, Texas gives car owners to option of paying extra for customized license plates honoring various colleges and universities. Some are even out-of-state institutions. But as The Dallas Morning News reported, a proposed additional option -- a plate saluting the University of Oklahoma, an arch-rival for the University of Texas at Austin -- is generating opposition. One critic posted a comment saying: "In no shape or form. ... Not ever."
These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar on The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education. This listing will appear as a regular feature in this space.
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A growing number of business schools are creating doctoral programs for business executives, Business Week reported. The programs are typically three years, non-residential and designed for business leaders who already have an advanced degree and considerable work experience.
King's University College, in Alberta, has found itself drawn into the military tribunal in Guantanamo considering murder and terrorism charges against Omar Khadr. The Globe and Mail reported that the defense has indicated that a college dean has offered admission for Khadr to the institution. While the dean acknowledges reaching out to him and offering to help, she and the university deny that any offer of admission has been made.
In the United States, public and private universities are trying to recruit in California, thinking that budget cuts and resulting enrollment limits there may create more interest in enrolling elsewhere. With British universities facing budget cuts that will limit spaces, a Dutch institution, Maastricht University, is recruiting those who will be rejected in the U.K., Times Higher Education reported.
With websites to rank faculty members or to gamble on grades, it was only a matter of time. A new website -- The Should I Skip Class Today? Calculator -- offers students a way to determine the relative risks of sleeping in. While the calculator claims to offer a vetted formula, many of the questions would seem to be those even a C student might consider. For instance, some of the information students provide to get their risk level include queries on whether there is a daily quiz or an attendance policy. The site comes complete with testimonials from students (with only their first names). Caitlyn from the University of Georgia is quoted as saying, "I love this thing! It is so cool! I'm totally going to use it daily!" In the FAQ, the site addresses the ethical issue that might occur to some faculty members. In response to the statement "Skipping class is wrong. This should be taken down," the website says "Censorship is wrong. You should be taken down."
While two institutions share the name Wheaton College, and both are proud of their liberal arts traditions, they are actually quite different. The one in Illinois is a Christian college, while the one in Massachusetts is not. The one in Massachusetts was for many years a women's college, while the one in Illinois never was. But people seem to have a hard time telling them apart. In May, the commencement speaker in Massachusetts talked about alumni who were in fact alumni of Wheaton in Illinois. Now Forbes is having difficulties. In its new college rankings, the entry with data for the Illinois college features contact information and a photograph of the college in Massachusetts, and vice versa.
The University of Scranton Press is being closed due to the tight budgets of its university, The Times-Tribune reported. The press is relatively small and relatively young, and published about 200 books during the 22 years in which it operated. "Basically, it was a budgetary decision. We are a tuition-driven institution, and these are tough economic times," said Harold Baillie, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Our main priority is the education of our students, and that takes precedence in the distribution of our resources." Among the areas of focus for the press have been Roman Catholicism and Pennsylvania. Books currently under contract will be released.